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Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Healthcare Workplace

Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) are proving to be a growing health and safety concern in Canadian medical facilities. Afflicting whom they will, from the CEO to the Housekeeper, time spent preventing MSDs is a worthwhile exercise.

Perhaps it’s good to point out that MSDs are not confined to the healthcare sector. Workplace musculoskeletal injuries are the most frequent lost-time injuries and the largest single source of lost-time costs in the workers compensation systems across Canada.

Clearly awareness and prevention is an increasing necessity.

When MSDs develop, not only are they painful, but they can interfere with many kinds of tasks. Recovery can be lengthy and in severe cases there is possibility of permanent damage. Recognition of a musculoskeletal injury is important as, in the early stage, it’s effects may not be more than aches and tiredness. If not dealt with at this stage, they can increase such that even light duties are painful and, in some cases, affect sleep.

Awkward body posture, repetition, amount of force and static loading of muscles are the main risk factors involved with work-related MSDs. When combined with a long duration, the risk increases. Whether for patient care, or facility maintenance, healthcare workers are often exposed to these risk factors. Activities such as bending, lifting, twisting, etc are all part of a day’s work and yet often poor ergonomic conditions mean that the risk of an MSD is increased.

With the above in mind, it is imperative that healthcare facilities conduct a job safety analysis. A proactive approach to identifying potential for MSDs to develop, and making recommendations for prevention goes a long way and should be part of a facility’s health and safety plan.

Source: New feed